Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dreamsicle

Dreamsicle

A wonderful cocktail that tastes just like a dreamsicle.  This was my Star’s cocktail choice for New Year’s Eve.  Great for any occasion!

Ingredients:

1.5 ounces of Pinnacle Whipped Flavored Vodka

8 ounces Sunkist Diet (or regular) orange soda

Ice

Add to glass, stir and enjoy!

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

First, I want to say this is my first post with my new Canon EOS Rebel t3i camera that my Star got me for Christmas.  I am still learning all the settings and different ways to shoot pictures, but I must say these pictures came out pretty darn good! :)

Okay, now on to this easy recipe…..we love asparagus!  We have wrapped them in bacon and now we are wrapping them in prosciutto.  A simple, yet elegant way to prepare asparagus.

Ingredients:

1 bundle of asparagus (or 2)

1/2 pound prosciutto

extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Wrap prosciutto around asparagus.  Place on cooling rack (or not), drizzle with EVOO and cracked black pepper.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes.  We served ours with filet mignon.  Yummy!

Toffee Cookies

Toffee Cookies

These are my absolute favorite Christmas cookie!  This is a recipe from my Grandmom Wish dating back to 1970.  She would make these every Christmas.

I made the first batch a few days ago and the day after Joe said to me with his mouth full of the last cookie “I think you need to make another batch of these, someone ate the last one.”  So two batches later, I am still making them!

These will  probably be one of the easiest cookies you will make.  So quick and yet so scrumptious!

Ingredients:

1 stick butter

1 stick margarine

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 giant size Hershey’s Bar

1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)  the kids do not like nuts, so we opted out! :)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In mixing bowl, add butter and margarine and beat well until fluffy.  Add brown sugar and egg yolk.  Add the sifted flour, salt and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed.

Grease a jelly-roll or cookie sheet.  Turn out the dough onto the pan and with a rubber spatula or back of a wooden spoon spread the dough carefully to the edges.  It will be a bit difficult to spread, but keep moving the spatula or spoon back and forth across dough.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until top is brown.  Meanwhile, break up the Hershey bar and melt in a double boiler or as I do one large sauce pan with some water and a smaller sauce pan on top.

Remove cookie dough from the oven and spread the melted chocolate on top evenly.  If desired, add the chop nuts.  Once cooled cut into squares.

 

 

 

Sweet and Sassy Cocktail Meatballs

Sweet and Sassy Cocktail Meatballs

We love meatballs!  We make them a lot of different ways, Asian, Greek, and stuffed with different kinds of cheeses, with beef, pork, veal.  Meatballs are great as you can be so creative with your ingredients.  This one has a tiny (I mean tiny) bit of heat and just the right amount of sweetness.   So great for parties!

This makes 6 dozen, but you can cut it in half, as I did recently for a smaller gathering of friends.

Ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup bread crumbs (any flavor)
3-4 scallions finely chopped or you can use 2/3 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs
2 bottles (12 ounces each) Chili sauce

2 jars (10 ounces each) grape jelly

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Stir together all ingredients except chili sauce and jelly.

Shape into 1-inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet with a cooling rack that has been sprayed with Pam.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center and juice runs clear.

Heat chili sauce and jelly in large pot/dutch oven over medium heat, stirring constantly, until jelly is melted.  Stir in meatballs until coated.  Simmer uncovered 30 minutes.  Serve hot with toothpicks.  This works great in a chafing dish for easy serving.

Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

These are the absolute best Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms!  We had some friends over for a holiday get together and everyone loved them.  You must, must try these.  It does not require a lot of ingredients and only takes 15 minutes of baking time.  These will yield you about 16 large stuffed mushrooms or 20 medium size.

Ingredients:

Large mushrooms (I got 2 bags of large mushrooms from my local produce market) or you can get 16 oz. medium mushrooms

4 scallions, finely chopped

1 small clove of garlic, crushed and finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup dry plain bread crumbs (I had plain and roasted garlic and just did half of each)

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees

With a damp towel, clean mushrooms and remove the stems.  Chop the stems finely.

 

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with olive oil.  Add the chopped stems and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.  Add the scallions and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, for 2 minutes longer.  (I completely forgot to take a picture of this step!  Yet, I am sure you can picture it.)

Combine the stem mixture with the bread crumbs, cheese, basil, parsley, salt and pepper.

Fill the mushroom caps with the stuffing mixture and arrange in the baking dish.  I drizzle some EVOO on the bottom of the dish and kind of swirl the caps on them so they don’t stick and I drizzle the tops of them.

 

Bake for 15 minutes.  Makes about 16-20 mushroom, depending on the size of the mushroom caps.

 

 

Raspberry Preserves Thumbprint Cookies

Raspberry Preserves Thumbprint Cookies

I love, love, love, love these cookies! I only make them at Christmas time and I don’t know why, because they are so stinkin’ delicious! I made a batch of these over the weekend and my Star said, “you sure you want to make them now? You still have two weeks till Christmas.” “Yes, I said, I don’t want to bake all the cookies in one weekend.” “Oh, well they might not last” he said. I really didn’t believe that he would eat them all. Well, I was wrong as they are almost completely gone. He is actually sitting here now with the cookie tin next to him chowing down! I guess I will be making another batch of these. :)

Ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry preserves (or your favorite jam, jelly)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla.

Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured surface and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into balls. Dip each ball into the egg wash and roll it in coconut. I like to add a few to the egg wash instead of doing one at a time, much easier.

Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Press a light indentation into the top of each with your finer.

Drop 1/4 teaspoon of preserves into each indentation.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and have at it! :)

Chinese Pizza with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Chinese Pizza with Ginger Dipping Sauce

This recipe we found at The Food Network and I am so glad that we did! I haven’t had these in years! This was a favorite snack of mine at my hometown local Chinese Restaurant, The Full Ho and I have yet to find them again. Some people call them Chinese Pancakes or Scallion Pancakes, but I know them by Chinese Pizza. When I came across this recipe, I knew immediately that we had to make them. They came out tasting exactly like the ones from Full Ho. Yay!!! Doing the happy dance! :)

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ginger dipping sauce, recipe to follow
Directions
In a bowl, sift flour. Slowly add water in a steady stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep adding water until a ball is formed. Let ball of dough relax for about 30 minutes and cover with damp cloth.

On a floured surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle.

Brush on oil mixture, cover with scallion and season with salt and pepper.

Carefully roll dough. This part is a little tricky and sticky. Make sure you have enough flour on your surface.

Cut into 4 pieces. Take one piece and twist 3 times.

Make a spiral out of this and roll again and flatten to achieve a 5 to 6 inch pancake.

In a hot non-stick pan, coat with some of the leftover sesame and canola oil and pan sear both sides until golden brown.

Place on plate covered with a paper towel. Place a paper towel over each pizza to absorb the oil.

Cut into pizza slices and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

GINGER DIPPING SAUCE:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients.

Simply delicious!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tonight was our first attempt at making Chinese food. This recipe was amazing, better than take out! It does take some time, but it is definitely worth the work. The flavor of the sauce is incredible and the texture of the chicken is wonderful. We were all just smacking our lips with this one. Nom nom nom!

For the Chicken:
3-4 boneless,skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
½ cup vinegar (preferably rice or white)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Season chicken with salt and pepper.

Working in two batches, toss the chicken pieces in cornstarch and then coat with the egg.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat and again in two batches, brown the chicken, turning it so that all sides are browned.

Place the chicken in a single layer in a 9×13 baking dish. Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the chicken. Turn the chicken to ensure each piece is coated.

Bake for 1 hour, turning the chicken every 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from http://www.browneyedbaker.com/

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Buffalo Chicken Casserole

Yes, another Buffalo Chicken recipe and it is a casserole dish! I love making casseroles. They are so simple and provide you with plenty of leftovers. It was a hit with my Star and said “you must make this again.”

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts (seasoned with salt, pepper & any other seasonings you may like)
1/2 box of penne or any type of pasta
1 cup + 1/2 cup buffalo sauce
4 oz cream cheese
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese (or you could use blue cheese)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 stick melted butter
1 tablespoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Begin by cooking pasta according to the directions on the package.

Bake chicken in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Shred chicken with fork.

Preheat a large skillet. Add the chicken, 1 cup of buffalo sauce and let it simmer.

Put milk in a sauce pan and warm at a low temperature until little bubbles form around the edges (make sure not to boil the milk).

Once milk is warm, add the flour and whisk until smooth. Add the cream cheese and the other 1/2 cup of buffalo sauce to the milk and whisk until smooth.

Spray 9 x 13 casserole dish with nonstick spray.

Pour 1/2 of the cooked pasta into the dish

Add the chicken

Top with remaining pasta and pour milk mixture over chicken and noodles, then top with shredded cheese

In a small bowl mix parsley, bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle evenly over top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Turkey Stromboli

Turkey Stromboli

This recipe we created last year with our leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.  Truly one of my favorite recipes!

We made this recipe with Pillsbury Pie Crust, which makes for a nice flaky breading and we also made it with pizza dough, which gave it more of a true stromboli flavor (if you know what I mean, just more doughier). We loved them both! Another great idea would be to add some leftover vegetables, like corn, peas, or even some mashed potatoes. We actually made a few of these last year and put them in the freezer.

Ingredients:

1 Pillsbury Pie crust or pizza dough

Leftover turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree

Roll out pie crust (or pizza dough)

Layer turkey

Spoon stuffing and cranberry sauce over turkey

Roll dough over mixture and tuck/pinch in ends and make a few slits on top with a knife

Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes til golden brown.

We like to heat up some leftover gravy and add it on top. YUMMY!